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THE EFFECT OF A NEW SUIT.
Tom bent his steps in the direction of a large and popular clothing establishment, and, entering, looked about for an unoccupied salesman.
"Well, boy, what's wanted?" asked a young man behind the counter.
"I want some clo'es."
"Then you've come to the right place. Did you buy them you have on here?" asked the salesman, with a grin.
"Young feller," said Tom, "these clo'es were bought before you were born."
"So I should think, from the looks."
"I'd make 'em do for a few years longer, only I'm goin' to be married next week. Have you got any bridal suits?"
"Step this way. I suppose you have got money to pay for them?" remarked the clerk, doubtfully.
"You suppose right. Just lead the way, and I'll see what you've got."
"How high are you willing to go?"
"Anywhere from twenty-five cents to twenty-five dollars."
"Our twenty-five cent suits are all out; but we can give you some for fifteen dollars, and as much more as you like."
"Show me some at fifteen."
Tom looked at some suits at this price. They were well made, but coarse, and did not quite come up to his ideas of what was appropriate for a young man of fortune.
"Show me some for twenty-five dollars," he said. "These ain't good enough to be married in."
Finally, Tom picked out a dark mixed suit, which appeared to be an exact fit. The price was twenty dollars, which he considered reasonable, and at once paid.
"Shall I send them home for you?" asked the clerk, regarding our hero with more respect, now that he had shown himself a purchaser for cash.
"Never mind; I'll take 'em myself," said Tom. "My carriage is waitin' outside, so it's no trouble."
He left the store with the clothes under his arm. But he was not yet wholly provided. He had no shirts, stockings, or under-clothes, which he cared to wear in the new life upon which he was entering. All must be procured. He stopped at a cheap store in Nassau street, and provided himself with half a dozen of each, at a cost of twenty dollars more. By this time he found himself so encumbered with bundles that he thought it best to go home.
He entered the room without attracting attention, and proceeded at once to throw off his old rags, and array himself in the new clothes, including a blue silk neck-tie which he had purchased. When his toilet was complete, he surveyed himself with no little complacency. For the first time in all the years that he could remember, he was attired, from top to toe, as a young gentleman.
"Blest if I couldn't pass myself off for a young Fifth avenoodle," he said to himself. "I'll go down and see Mrs. Flanagan. I wonder if she'll know me?"
He descended the stairs, and knocked at the door of the good-hearted Irishwoman.
She did not recognize him, having no idea that it was Tom the bootblack.
"Does Mrs. Flanagan live here?" asked Tom, slightly disguising his voice.
"Yes, sir. Is it washing ye want me to do?"
"Is there a boy named Tom lives here?" asked our hero.
"He lives up stairs, just over this."
"Do you know him?"
"Shure I do. I know him as if he was my own bye."
"I don't know about that," said Tom, in his natural voice, raising his hat, which he had worn slouched down over his eyes. "You didn't seem to know him when you saw him."
"Shure it's Tom himself!" exclaimed Mrs. Flanagan. "Why, Tom, dear, what's come to you? You're lookin' quite the gintleman."
"Of course I am," said Tom. "That's the new business I've gone into."
"Where did you get them new clo'es, Tom?"
"I bought them with the money old Jacob left me. And now, Mrs. Flanagan, I'm goin' to leave you."
"Where are you goin', Tom?"
"I'm goin' out West, to seek my fortune."
"Shure I hope you'll find it."
"So do I, Mrs. Flanagan. I know it's there, and mean to get it, if I can."
"Are you goin' now?"
"Not till to-morrow. I've got some more things to buy first."
"I'm sorry to lose you, Tom. I'll miss you and old Jacob. I hope the poor man's better off."
"So do I, Mrs. Flanagan. I won't hide it from you—but he left me a paper, tellin' me that there is a man out West that's cheated me out of my fortune."
"What's his name?"
"Grey. He's my father's cousin."
"Where does he live?"
"I don't know."
"Then how will you find him?"
"I know how he looks. He was in New York a little while ago, and I blacked his boots. When I come into my fortune, I'll make you a handsome present, Mrs. Flanagan."
"Shure I hope you'll get it widout the present."
"Now I must be goin'. I've got to buy a carpet-bag and umbrella."
"Come in and bid me good-by before you go, Tom."
"Yes, I will."
Tom went out into the street, when it occurred to him that there was one article he had not yet renewed—his hat. He lost no time in visiting a hat store, where he supplied himself with one of fashionable shape. He could not resist the temptation, also, of purchasing a small, jaunty cane. Being naturally a good-looking boy, I am justified in saying that, in his new outfit, he would have easily passed muster as the son of a man of wealth. In fact, so effectually was he disguised, that he passed some of his old street companions without their recognizing him. Tom was rather amused and pleased at this. As he passed his old rival and enemy, Pat Walsh, it struck him that it would be a good joke to employ him to black his shoes, of which I neglected to say that he had purchased a new pair. Pat was just finishing off a customer, when Tom stepped up.
"Shine yer boots?" asked Pat.
"Yes, boy, and be quick about it," answered Tom, assuming a tone of haughty command.
Pat was at once on his knees, blacking the shoes of his old rival without the slightest suspicion of his identity.
"Humph! do you call that a good shine?" demanded Tom, when the first shoe was finished. "I could black it better myself."
"What do you know about blackin' boots?" said Pat, angrily. "There ain't a boy round here can give you a better shine than that."
"I got my boots blacked yesterday by a boy named Tom. He gave me a better shine."
Just then Pat looked up in his face, and started in surprise.
"You're Tom yourself," he said. "Where'd you get them clo'es?"
"Do you dare to compare me to a bootblack?" said Tom. "My name is Gilbert."
"You look like Tom's twin-brother, then," said Pat, bewildered.
Tom didn't reply, but walked off in a dignified manner, after paying Pat, swinging his cane in the most approved style.
"Don't he look like Tom, though?" soliloquized Pat, bewildered.
Tom enjoyed the joke, but didn't venture to laugh till he was out of sight.
"No wonder Pat didn't know," he thought. "I ain't sure I'd know myself, it I'd gone to sleep a bootblack and waked up as I am now."
Tom made his purchases, took supper at a restaurant, and went to bed early. It was his last night in the city. On the next day he was to start for the West, in quest of fortune.
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